Miami-Dade County

Autism doesn’t stop teen from celebrating bar mitzvah

Warm congratulations to Zev Jacobs, 13, who will celebrate his bar mitzvah at 9 a.m. Saturday at Beth David Congregation, 2625 SW Third Ave.

A bar mitzvah is a wonderful rite of passage for Jewish boys. But in Zev’s case, it is even more special. Zev, you see, has been diagnosed with autism, a brain disorder that interferes with his ability to socialize and communicate. On Saturday, he will become the first child with autism will celebrate his bar mitzvah at the temple.

His mother Cantor Julie Jacobs, who leads prayer services at the temple, said, "More than 10 years ago, when Zev was diagnosed with autism, doctors told me that he would never be able to read and write." And although Zev was initially withdrawn, he accompanied his mother to services and became interested in learning more about the prayers and music. He learned to play the drums, and played them at the congregation’s monthly Shabbat Pasion service. This helped him to gain confidence, his mother said.

As time passed, his mother said Zev became more immersed in the community and Judaism. "First he was attracted to the music. then, he learned to not only read and write in English, but in Hebrew as well," Cantor Jacobs said.

At his bar mitzvah, Zev will not only read his Maftir and Haftorah as other bar mitzvah students, he will lead the congregation in a detailed reading of the entire Torah portion for the Sabbath service. "I am so proud of the milestone he will accomplish at his bar mitzvah," his mother said.

Cantor Jacobs, who founded the congregation’s Tikvah Center, the only school in South Florida that combines a curriculum for children with autism with a Judaic content, said she hopes that other Jewish children on the autism spectrum will work with her for a bar mitzvah celebration.

For more information call 305-854-3911.

Also at Beth David: Cantor Jacobs will begin her seventh year of "Shabbat Pasion" at 7 p.m. Friday. She will team with her five-member Shabbat Pasion band led by tres (Spanish guitar) player Ivan Zervigon. The service will feature traditional prayers sung by Jacobs, accompanied by conga drums, tres, and flute. All are welcome.

Talk will focus on Jewish rituals

Temple Judea at 5500 Granada Blvd. in Coral Gables, will open its new Scholar Series on Oct. 7, with a lecture by Dr. Vanessa Ochs, author of "Inventing Jewish Ritual", sinner of a 2007 National Jewish Book Award.

During the lecture, Ochs will speak on the new Jewish rituals that have emerged in the past 30 years and will introduce the rituals that have had sticking power. She will share insight into how rituals are created and introduced as well as the tools that are used from tradition.

Ochs has been awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia, where she teaches courses in Judaism, anthropology of religion and spiritual writing.

The lecture is free and is open to the general public. Reservations are required and may be made by emailing: or by calling the temple’s Education Office at 305-667-7243.

Garage sale at Palm Springs UMC

Palm Springs United Methodist Church at 5700 W. 12th Ave., will have its last summer fling — its Summer Indoor Garage Sale — for two weekends, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 5, and Oct. 11 and 12 in the church’s fellowship hall.

My friend Nancy Perez tells me that there will be a large variety of items for your selection, to include clothing, linens, records, videos, baby items, school and office supplies, luggage, lamps, pictures, collectables and books. There will also be a craft room with many craft items and supplies.

In addition, outside in the back building, there will be holiday items for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas; small furniture and medical supplies. Another room will have a large variety of toys and other things that children like. Lunch and snacks will also be for sale. The money raised will be used for church work and missions.

For more information call 305-821-3232, 305-821-2073 or send an email to:

Oktoberfest in Miami Springs

Grace Lutheran Church and School will host Oktoberfest from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 5 and 6 at Johnny’s Restaurant in Miami Springs on the Circle. The event is a fundraiser for the church’s school.

Donations are $15 for adults and $6 for children under 10, and will include a buffet dinner with theme food as well as beverage and dessert (strudel, chocolate cake and ice cream). Tickets will be available at the door.

Service will honor firefighters

Fallen firefighters will be honored during a special Shabbat service at Temple Bat Yam, a reform synagogue at 5151 NE 14th Terr. in east Fort Lauderdale. The special service will recognize the efforts that firefighters and personnel make in protecting the lives of others, property and the synagogue.

The service will recognized firefighters who have died, from the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Department, Pompano Beach Fire Department and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Fire Department.

Representatives from the fire services and all current or retired firefighters are invited to attend. Current firefighters are asked to be in uniform . Retirees can wear their uniform or badge. Refreshments will be served following the service.

Scholarship fund

Many of you have asked for information on where to make donations to the scholarship fund named for my late son, Pastor James F. "Rick" Hines Jr.

Shortly before his death, Rick founded an organization with his wife Debra called Brothers and Sisters on a Mission Inc. (BASOAM), as an outreach to at risk children and youth.

"God gave my husband a vision for at-risk youth who didn’t seem to have any hope," Debra said. "He wanted to give these youngsters hope and a new mindset to be successful."

To donate to the scholarship fund, make checks payable to BASOAM and write, "Pastor James F. Hines Scholarship Fund" on the memo line. Send to 3816 S. Lake Terr., Miramar, FL 33023.

Thanks for all you do.